Studying doesn’t have to be a long and tedious task. By applying appropriate study techniques you will improve your learning and your academic performance. We show you the most important ones.
Do you think that studying consists of sitting at a table and rereading, repeating and memorizing the information? If so, your academic results are probably not as good as you might expect; But not only that: surely for you the study has become a tedious and not very fruitful activity. Do not worry! We bring you the most effective study techniques to improve your learning.
It is possible that at some point you have tried to implement one of these techniques and have not obtained good results. It is natural for this to happen and you should not be discouraged: each person is different and not all are comfortable with the same tools.
There are more visual individuals and others more auditory; there are those who are stimulated by the different colors in their notes and others for whom this is only a great distraction.
In any case, the important thing is that you explore the different alternatives until you find the one that best fits your personality and your abilities. And how will you know this? Encouraging you to try them. In a short time you will see which ones are the most suitable for you.
What is a study technique?
Study techniques must be tailored to your needs to act as a real help.
Study techniques are strategies that allow to optimize the learning process . That is, they help you assimilate more information in less time and with a good level of understanding. Therefore, by applying adequate study techniques you will not only need to dedicate fewer hours, but you will also obtain better results.
In addition, the learning that occurs when you help yourself with these tools is significant. It is not just a matter of memorizing to be able to dump that data on the exam and forget it; Rather, the goal is to understand, integrate, and apply that information in a way that is useful to you in the long run.
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8 study techniques to improve learning
Contrary to what it may seem, the study process begins before you sit down at the desk and continues afterwards; For this reason, it is important that you have strategies for each of the stages . Next, we show you a selection of the most efficient and simple to implement.
This initial step can greatly facilitate or hinder subsequent study work ; however, it is not always given the attention it deserves. Most of the people are used to taking notes during their classes, collecting the main explanations and making explanatory notes.
However, these notes are often insufficient, not very descriptive, or chaotic; therefore, when returning to them later, it is hardly possible to understand what was meant by writing them.
To take some notes that truly help you understand and memorize, it is important that you pay attention during the class session , that you truly involve yourself in it. Try to write down main ideas and, if due to the rush your notes have been excessively disorganized, rewrite them when you get home with the information still recent.
This is one of the most commonly used and time-consuming study techniques. It simply consists of taking the textbook, document or notes and highlighting the key concepts in each area . You can do this by underlining with a line under the sentence or adding color above it, whichever is more comfortable for you when rereading.
Similarly, some people use different tones or modes of underlining to indicate different types of information . This can be helpful if you are a very visual person. In addition, the underline will serve as a preliminary step for the following strategies.
A summary is a synthesized compilation of the key ideas of the information you want to learn. To be effective, it is necessary to know how to differentiate which data is relevant and which is secondary; and, above all, write in your own words.
It is of little use to copy the same text that they have provided you; however, if you elaborate and try to adapt it to your own vocabulary, the comprehension will be much greater. In the summaries, complete and meaningful sentences are used that allow you to understand the topic without having to expand the information by other means.
There are very different study techniques that can be adapted to different subjects or different needs.
Create schematics or concept maps
Unlike in summaries, in the case of diagrams you must be able to select specific and concise words to capture the information. An outline must be a simple, logical and structured exposition of the essential questions of the subject.
To do this, you can use lines, arrows, keys or other graphic elements that relate some points to others and indicate their interdependence.
Try not to choose more than three or four words for each level and make sure the information deepens as you go. For example, at the top you can place the main ideas and, below, expand the details or characteristics.
On the other hand, concept maps are more appropriate when, based on the keyword, several hierarchical levels are displayed . In this case, the connectors contain words and branches can exit from each point in different directions.
Use practical exercises
This is not possible in all subjects, but it is a highly effective strategy. By doing practical exercises, you not only passively receive the information (read it), but you actively work on it .
In this way, a much deeper and lasting learning is achieved. Practicing the exercises set out in class and looking for new ones, but similar ones, can be of great help.
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Apply mnemonic rules
Mnemonic rules consist of creating short, easy-to-remember sentences that help connect words . This is a very useful memorization technique when you have to remember several specific concepts, such as city names or historical dates. Different variants can be used such as:
- Associate the words with personal experiences or memories
- Invent a word formed by the initials of the conceptsto be memorized
- Create a story that contains the data you want to remember
Flashcards are great for consolidating information and reviewing what you have learned . To create them you must write a question or keyword on one side and add the answer or more detailed information on the other. By using them, you will be able to evaluate your knowledge yourself and detect which areas or topics need to be reinforced before the exam.
Explain what has been learned so far
There are few more effective ways of assimilating knowledge than having to pass it on to others. This forces you to understand it, to structure it in your mind, and to express it coherently and in your own words.
You can organize a study group in which each member presents a topic to the rest or simply use a plant or a toy as an audience. The important thing is that you manage to make a good presentation, since this will mean that you have integrated what you have learned.
Study techniques, combine them as you see fit
As you can see, there are a multitude of different study techniques that can be useful throughout the learning process. Remember that it is not necessary that you always use the same ones : perhaps for some subjects some will be useful and for others, different ones.
Allow yourself to explore, test and practice and you will soon find what suits your needs. Studying requires effort and perseverance, but it doesn’t have to be tedious and endless.